By Carolyn Roncolato
My partner and I tried to get pregnant for seven years- seven years of waiting, doctor’s visits, tests, medications, treatments, special diets, etc. I prayed ceaselessly, not so much for a baby as for an answer to what to do. I am a process feminist theologian who on most days is comforted by a Whiteheadian God who is deeply present to the world, flowing along in a gentle process of mutual change. I am drawn to this theology because it honors the complexity of life and acknowledges the real violence and suffering in the world. However, in the midst of my own long and painful waiting, this God no longer felt satisfying or even real. I wanted a God with a plan and the power to execute it.
Most days I felt no answer to prayer. But one evening, after another month with no sign of life in me, weeping in the kitchen, I heard loud and clear -wait…wait…wait. Though this long awaited answer was far from satisfying, with time I came to realize that waiting did not mean doing nothing. Rather, it meant doing the hard work of recognizing and co-creating with God the “way out of no way” that Monica Coleman talks about. Traversing this new way was going to require hard work and time. It turned out that the way forward was not an open door leading to a perfectly manicured walk (as I hoped or presumed it would be). It was more like a hike along a rocky cliff, a swim across a raging stream, or a walk through a dense forest. I had to work for it.
I eventually realized that the pain I felt in the midst of our infertility was in large part because this was not the story that I expected to live. In order to move forward I had to create a new narrative. With this insight things began to change. As I worked on creating this new narrative, God showed a way where I thought there was none. I learned that God could not create an answer and hand it down just like God could not create a baby and hand it down. I am a co-creator with God and that required that I, like God, change in light of the reality that confronted me. Moving forward required me to change in response to what had unfolded. I had to create new community, find people who would give me new wisdom, imagine myself in a new light, ask hard questions, unpack my presumptions, seek answers and resources, and wait. The way was made and two years later we adopted a wonderful baby boy. This experience of making a new way with God changed my understanding of what it means for God to work with us as we are to bring about what we could be. Furthermore, it showed me what it means for us to work with God to create our own healing, liberation, and hope. To get to my baby I had to take the time to become a new self and in the midst of the becoming I found that I was walking the new way that I never imagined was possible.